there was already determined to be a risk to healthcare workers, albeit an infrequent one. and transmission through casual contact was ruled out as being a major threat. at the beginning of the epidemic, fear was the bottom line, particularly among health-care providers. and the doctors were, in fact, in a difficult position. on the one hand, we know this is our job. throughout the whole history of medicine, if there was plague, doctors were going to get plague. in the era of antibiotics, we forgot that. early on in the aids epidemic, there were staff, and unfortunately some doctors, too, at that time, who wouldn't even enter the room of a patient with aids. i remember seeing people where they were putting the tray at the side of the bed, at the side of the door. "uh, your food is here." well, the person was too sick to get the food. i mean, it was all-- it was ridiculous.